Lab Members

Shaugh Bell Research Assistant III

Shaughn Bell

Research Assistant III Email: shaughn.bell@cshs.org

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Bell earned his bachelor's degree in Biology from Carleton College in 2004. Following graduation, he moved to St. Louis, Mo., and worked as a quality control laboratory analyst for Proctor & Gamble. In 2007, Baloh hired Bell as lab manager at The Hope Center for Neurological Disorders at Washington University, St. Louis, School of Medicine, where Bell worked on research projects related to modeling inherited neuromuscular diseases, namely Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He helped generate and characterize the first published mouse model of TDP43-related ALS. In 2011, Bell made the move to the Baloh Laboratory at Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute. He is currently working on ALS and CMT projects related to genome engineering, induced pluripotent stem cells and transgenic animals.
Sharon Carmona Research Assistant I

Sharon Carmona

Research Assistant II Email: sharon.carmona@cshs.org

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Carmona earned her bachelor's of science degrees in Biology and Neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2011. From 2008–2009, she participated in undergraduate clinical research for the UCLA Department of Evolutionary Psychology, researching the reward system and its role in romantic relationships. She also volunteered at Cedars-Sinai Department of Psychiatry Research (2010-2011), studying prenatal exposure to nicotine in rats. Upon graduation, she joined Robert M. Cohen, MD, PhD, where she focused on Alzheimer’s disease. In 2012, Carmona joined the Baloh Laboratory, managing the transgenic mouse and rat colonies. Her current area of focus is on transgenic mouse modeling, specifically on the mitofusin-2 gene, which is involved in Charcot-Marie-Tooth Type 2, a peripheral neuropathy disease.

Kevin Kim, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher Email: kevin.kim@cshs.org

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Kim earned his PhD in Molecular and Medical Pharmacology from UCLA in 2011. Under the guidance of Yi Sun, PhD, Kim participated in multiple projects spanning from developmental neurobiology to disease modeling using neurons derived from human stem cells. During his doctoral training, Kim had the opportunity to work at GlaxoSmithKline Research & Development, gaining an expertise in assay development and phenotypic screening. He led a team of six employees to identify small molecules and targets that affect neuronal and oligodendrocyte differentiation. Kim completed his first postdoctoral research the Rubin Laboratory at Harvard University, developing a screening platform to identify potential therapeutic targets for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) using motor neurons differentiated from patient-derived stem cells. Currently, he is conducting his second postdoctoral research in the Baloh Laboratory at Cedars-Sinai. Kim's research focuses on modeling ALS and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease using induced pluripotent stem cells and on genome engineering.

Deepti Lall, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher Email: deepti.lall@cshs.org

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Lall obtained her PhD from the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, where she specialized in understanding molecular mechanisms of glycinergic neurotransmission in the central nervous system and its role in neuropsychiatric disorders, particularly schizophrenia. For advanced postdoctoral training, Lall joined the Lab of Detlev Boison, PhD in Portland, Oregon, where she worked on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative disorders, particularly Parkinson disease and designing new translational therapies to cure them. Lall's work in the Baloh Laboratory focuses on elucidating the mechanisms by which the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) pathogenic protein TDP43 is accumulated in neuronal cells and its potential contribution to toxicity in ALS pathogenesis. She is also interested understanding how dysfunctions of RNA processing are involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration in ALS.

AKM Ghulam Muhammad, MBBS

Project Scientist Email: akm.muhammad@cshs.org

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Muhammad joined Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute in July 2012. He is working on accelerating the pace of bench to bed transition of stem cell therapy for neurodegenerative disorders including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT). In October 2004, at the Cedars-Sinai Gene Therapeutics Research Institute, he spearheaded the gene therapy project for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common brain tumor and deadliest of all human cancers, which was recently approved by the FDA for a Phase I Clinical Trial (BB-IND 14574; NIH/OBA Protocol 0907-990). Muhammad received his medical degree from the Dhaka University, Bangladesh, and later became a faculty member of the Neurosurgery Department there and established the milestone of stereotactive neurosurgery in Bangladesh by performing the first procedure on a brain tumor patient. As a Japanese Government Monbukagakusho Scholar, Muhammad received his doctorate degree from Osaka University. Subsequently, he was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship under the auspices of The Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences and contributed to characterizing molecular genetic classification for astrocytic tumors, especially primary and secondary GBM. Muhammad has accumulated research experience for more than 15 years, encompassing a broad base of research in the fields of brain tumors (molecular genetic analysis and development of novel treatment strategies), neuroprotection (selective brain hypothermia) and neurodegenerative disorders, namely ALS, CMT, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer’s disease. To date, Muhammad has contributed to more than 100 presentations in scientific meetings and has published more than 50 papers.

Jacqueline O'Rourke, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher Email: jacqueline.orourke@cshs.org

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O'Rourke earned her PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine in 2010. She joined the Baloh Lab in 2012 as a postdoctoral researcher to investigate molecular mechanisms involved in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Megan Simpkinson Research Assistant II

Megan Simpkinson

Research Assistant II Email: megan.simpkinson@cshs.org

Kathryn Wu

Research Associate I Email: kathryn.wu@cshs.org

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Wu earned her bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College. She previously studied hypermethylation of mutant C9ORF72 in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia patients under Edward Lee, MD, PhD, at the University of Pennsylvania. Wu joined the Baloh Laboratory in 2014 as a research associate, where she is currently using genome-editing technologies to generate isogeneic ALS cell lines.
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